Global fashion retail group Inditex is expanding its use of RFID technology as it looks to improve operational and merchandising efficiency across its estate.

The Spain-based business is currently deploying the technology in 700 of its Zara stores across 22 countries, but has this week awarded Tyco Retail Solutions a chain-wide contract to introduce inventory intelligence that it hopes will increase supply chain accuracy and visibility.

Inditex is one of a number of large European retailers, including Marks & Spencer and Asda, which are implementing RFID in some form. Adoption rates in retail have grown as the technology has become increasingly standardised and continues to grow in reliability and cost-effectiveness.

Pablo Isla, Inditex president, described RFID as "next-generation technology" and called the implementation of it across the business as "one of the most significant changes ever in how the group's stores operate".

In particular, Inditex is using Tyco's Sensormatic dual technology RFID/Acousto-Magnetic hard tags and detachers at the point of sale, which are re-used as part of the retailer's eco-friendly tag recirculation programme.

Nancy Chisholm, president, Tyco Retail Solutions, commented: "As a world renowned fashion retailing leader, Inditex constantly delivers fresh assortments to attract customers.

"Now, having real-time visibility to their inventory enables Inditex to keep pace with fashion trends and meet discriminating shopper needs."

US-based supply chain, RFID and enterprise analyst firm ChainLink Research estimates that retail consumption of RFID tags is growing at over 40% per year, and suggested it is being driven by the shift to omnichannel strategies and the revenue uplift that can come from improved on-shelf availability.

In recognition of the growing demand for the technology, ChainLink announced this month that it is launching an RFID Research Service to provide market analysis, advisory and research services to vendors and users of RFID products and solutions. 

Among other functions, the new offering will provide an annual industry sector report, including size and growth estimates by application and industry sector, as well as a detailed analysis of retail end-user case studies.

The group has appointed industry veteran Scot Stelter to the role of vice president for RFID and the 'Internet of Things' to strengthen its expertise in this burgeoning area of retail technology. 

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Tyco Retail Solutions

ChainLink Research